Thursday, January 01, 2009

Now THIS is what I was talking about...

UPDATE: Regarding one of my earlier posts concerning Susan Roberts who recently lost her husband, and was then the victim of theft, my good blogging friend "Nikki", who is also a member of "Soldiers Angels", picked up my story and forwarded it to the main Soldiers Angels organization, and now they are also going to be helping out Susan Roberts. Susans son is a soldier in Iraq, thus qualifying her for assistance.

This is the kind of networking I'm proposing to help folks in need.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gonna take a break fer a spell.


Gettin burnt out from bloggin, so I'll be taking a break fer a spell. See ya whenever I decide to come back to it. It's kinda lost some of its value, relaxation and fun. Maybe in a few days, or longer, don't know myself.

As my "Bubblehead" buddy Tom D. would say, "Going Deep"

Monday, December 29, 2008

A most remarkably strong, positive woman.

UPDATE: After posting this article, I was contacted by several readers through the comment section and E-mail wanting to know what Susan's address was so that they might send some donations in her time of need.

I contacted her to make sure this was OK with her and she gave me permission to release her address, so here it is:

Susan Roberts
1326 Lestina Beach Road
Bridgeport, NY

..and Thank You in advance to anyone wishing to do so. I have found my readers to be some of the most generous and giving folks on the internet. May God Bless all of you.


Well folks, I wanted to print this story because I was so impressed and inspired by this woman's personal strength and positive outlook. Also, she lives a few houses up the street from Cookie, and the untimely accidental death of her husband brought us into closer contact.

My wife and myself hadn't know Susan or her late husband James other than to gesture to each other with a friendly neighborly wave and hello as we passed each other on the street walking our dog or out for an evening walk. Their daughters would sell Girl Scout cookies door to door, and Cookie ( who absolutely loves Girl Scout cookies), would not hesitate to do business with them when the annual cookie sale took place.

Following the death of her husband, all the neighbors got together and signed a sympathy card and donated to a collection to help her out in her time of need over the holidays. What isn't in the newspaper story is that the money collected and given to her the evening before the theft, was the money that was stolen by some low life, lower than whale-shit scum ball who preys on hard working folks like Susan.

Susan, in an effort to support her now fatherless children and herself, and to give her children the best Christmas possible under the circumstances, makes and sells the most excellent pie's and jams that this man has ever tasted. She sells these wares at our local "Farmers Market" in Syracuse, NY. Prior to these sad series of events, my wife and I had occasionally ordered pies and jams from Susan.

On Christmas eve, Susan delivered several pies and jams to our house that we had ordered for our Christmas dinner, and stocking stuffers for friends. It was during our conversation with her that evening that I saw just what a very strong woman Susan Roberts is, and the positive outlook she maintains regarding life and its unfair situations. I learned a valuable lesson that evening regarding how to handle adversity.

Here is part of her story as printed in the paper....

Vendor's purse stolen at Regional Market
by Dave Tobin /The Post-Standard

Saturday December 20, 2008, 3:23 PM

Syracuse, NY.-----To someone at the Regional Market early Saturday morning, Susan Roberts' purse was a score.

It contained gift certificates and cash, totaling about $400. Also her license and credit cards, checkbooks and insurance card. Her husband's death certificate was in there, too.

She'd planned to take the death certificate to the Social Security office Monday, to apply for death benefits. Instead, she'll spend Monday trying to replace identification cards.

Her husband, James Roberts, 43, of Bridgeport, died Dec. 1, in a freak accident in the Oswego County town of Granby. A driver in a truck that was towing a stump grinder crested a hill on Rt. 48, saw another truck stopped in his lane and slammed on the brakes. A second truck rear-ended the stump grinder, sending it careening down the hill and colliding with Roberts truck, killing him.

Roberts was unloading her van around 5:30 am Saturday, went to get pens from her purse when she realized her purse had been stolen right off the front seat. She had used her purse to buy gasoline on the way to the market, and remembers last seeing it next to the eggs.

The purse theft comes at a hard time. James Roberts had been driving truck for a new company he'd been with only five weeks. Before that, he'd been out of work for six months.

A friend of Roberts called the newspaper with the tip about her story.

Susan Roberts has been selling jams, baked goods and holiday gift baskets at the Syracuse Regional Market nearly 15 years. That work has enabled her to be home with her kids. Three are adults now, one of them a soldier in Iraq who came home for his father's funeral. Two children are teenagers at home. She also cares for a three-year old grandchild.

At days end, as she packed up her goods, Roberts was doing her best to stay positive.

"I can't get angry or upset, because I don't want to live my life like that," she said. "I prefer to think that maybe somebody was just desperate, in dire need."

One pie was left, a strawberry rhubarb, its red juice outlining a Christmas tree in the crust, coloring the star cut out above it.

What would she say to the person who stole her purse?

"I would tell them that despite the fact that things are really tough, everyone's got it tough," she said. "There's really no right reason to steal. If you put your faith in the good things in life, things come to you. When you choose that path, you're just not going to have good things come to you."

Anyone with information about the purse is asked to contact the Syracuse police, or call 633-2291.

May God Bless you and yours Susan Roberts.

Now here is a very real Good News story...

Well Sir, I don't normally watch, listen to, or read anything that comes from CNN, but my cousin, John Coyne frum down FLA way, sent me this story, and all I gotta say is God Bless the folks at Lance Inc. for what they've done for these good folks who lost their jobs....

From John King
CNN Chief National Correspondent

ASHLAND, Ohio (CNN) -- An Ohio bakery shut down in October is bustling again, with 60eager employees who had expected a Christmas on the unemployment rolls.

Cookie production has resumed and some workers are back on the job at the Archway factory in Ashland, Ohio.

Some 300 workers lost their jobs when the Archway cookie factory in Ashland, Ohio, was suddenly closed by the private equity firm that owned it. The workers also were left without benefits like health insurance.

But then Lance Inc., a Charlotte, North Carolina-based snack food company, purchased Archway at a bankruptcy auction. And last week 60 workers were asked to return immediately, with perhaps more coming back in the months ahead.

Kathy Sexton, a worker at the bakery, had been preparing her children for a very modest holiday. Watch the holiday brighten for workers »

"They said they understood," Sexton recalls. "They said, 'That's all right, Mom.' You always want to give them more, but ... I didn't think I would be able to."

Now she can.

Tiny Ashland has been struggling. Ohio has lost 200,000 jobs over the past eight years. The recent presidential campaign saw both candidates visiting frequently.

The outlook in Ashland became especially bleak when the Archway plant closed. Workers at the bakery said they felt betrayed when Archway at first said there would be more work in a day or two, but then changed the locks.

Rita Devan remembers.

"They just kept taking and taking until there was nothing left to take," Devan says, "and they didn't care that they were putting 300 people out of work."

Things are different now.

When it promised to reopen the bakery, Lance gave all 300 former Archway workers a $1,500 prepaid debit card.

"I was crying," Devan says of the gift. "I am like, 'What are these people doing? They don't know me. They don't know us. They don't know any of the Archway people. And they are giving each and every one of us $1,500.' "

Sexton -- the woman who'd been preparing her kids for a meager holiday -- says of the $1,500 gift: "It was awesome. My first thought was, 'I can give my kids a Christmas.' "

David Singer, CEO of Lance, says the gift cards were a way of letting Ashland know the new owners are different. "We wouldn't do it willy-nilly," Singer says. "We do want to make money. But this is the pool of folks that we intend to hire. We just wanted to let them know who we were."

The 60 workers rehired so far are earning their previous salary and retained their seniority. They also were provided health insurance from day one.

The bakery now produces Lance cookies that are sold to big chains like Target and Wal-Mart. But production of Archway cookies is scheduled to resume soon. Lance has told the employees that it hopes to have the plant fully operational by the end of 2009 -- that is, five lines of cookies being produced simultaneously.

The new owners say that if new orders keep flowing in, more jobs will follow.

Terry Mowry is another worker rehired by Lance. He says what has happened is hard to describe: "You just saw life being breathed right back into the face of these people."

And Devan says with a laugh: "I walked into the garage last night, and my husband says, 'You actually smell like a cookie again.' "

"He said, 'Boy, I missed that smell.' "

The "Bail-Out" math explained...

Always loved good old Ma & Pa Kettle movies....


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is there any such thing as a smart politician, or one with one lick of Common Sense???

I seriously doubt it!

Well Sir...first let me set the stage. New York State, like many other States, is in a severe financial mess. So, Governor Paterson, who moved into the Governorship when Elliot Spitzer got caught with his pants down, inherited a real financial mess, mainly due to massive entitlement programs and very excessive "pork barrel" spending by the previous administrations.

So, Paterson, taking the bull by the horns (something I admire BTW), broke out his "fiscal Ax" and started chopping and eliminating many programs that he deemed as unnecessary and/or frivolous. Now Sir, I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with the thinking behind this kind of governing BUT, before one throws the baby out with the bathwater, investigate and put some thought to just what yur doin before ya do it!

Now Sir, "Cookie" is a bonafide, proud member of The New York State Outdoor Writers Association, and, through this fine organization, I just received a link to the below article and I'd like to share it with any New York State taxpayers or Sportsmen who can see the obvious fallacy and complete lack of forethought of Governor Paterson's most recent move.

Article from "We Love Outdoors"...

Governor’s Farm Blunder Will Cost State Millions

By Rich Davenport

Date Published: December 26, 2008

The Reynolds Game Farm costs approximately $750,000 to operate, annually; the bulk of this is cost of staff/ labor. On the surface, the Governor’s proposal and reasoning seem rational. After all, the State’s current economic conditions demand cuts across the board to attempt to close an ever-widening budget deficit. Certainly, anywhere the Governor can save the taxpayers money is something to pursue.

The Deputy Commissioner of the Environment, Judith Enck, echoed this position in an email, dated December 22, 2008, when she stated the following:

“Recreational hunting is an important economic and recreational activity. The more than 60,000 pheasant hunters in New York contribute to the State economy by spending money on hunting trips and equipment. However, with the State facing a $13.7 billion deficit in 2009-2010, the benefits of this program do not justify the $750,000 expended annually for the Reynolds Game Farm. Indeed, the Governor's Budget made similar choices in all areas; major cuts are proposed in education, health care, state facilities and many other areas of importance.”

Indeed, other organizations, chiefly the Humane Society of the United States, echoed this justification in a letter of support of this move, dated December 9, 2008, which stated that the taxpayers should not pay for such activities, which reduces the effectiveness of the fund that delivers wildlife management to NYS.

Unfortunately, for the Governor and Albany officials, funding of the game farm and pheasant program does not come from the taxpayers. This notion being put forth is effectively a lie.

The pheasant farm receives 100% of its funding from the NY Conservation Fund. Unless you purchase a sporting license in NYS (hunting, fishing or trapping), you pay not one penny towards this $750,000.00. Therefore, the measure will not save the taxpayer any money at all.

However, through attempting to save this voluntarily contributed money, Governor Paterson is about to perpetrate one of the great injustices upon NY taxpayers we have seen in a while.

Facts are facts, folks, and according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, in 2006, NY pheasant hunting had an economic impact of close to $60 million annually. Through this economic activity, the general fund benefits through collecting fuel tax revenue, sales tax revenue, additional income and business tax revenue, bed tax revenue, etc. Here are some top-line numbers, straight from publicly available reports.

Fuel Consumption: In 2006, 52,000 resident pheasant hunters on average spent $336.00on gasoline and diesel fuel traveling to and from their hunting grounds. This breaks down to roughly 100 gallons of gasoline consumed by each pheasant hunter per season, based on 2006 gasoline prices per gallon. According to Syracuse University, the NYS Fuel tax amounts to close to $0.63/ gallon. Doing some simple math, the fuel tax receipts that will be lost with the termination of the pheasant program is approximately $3.28 Million.

Sales Tax: In 2006, the average pheasant hunter spent $227.00 on equipment and gear related to their pursuits. This equates to $11.8 MIL is economic activity on goods which are taxable. At the rate of 8.75%, combined state and county sales tax rates, this represents another loss of $1.03 MIL!

We have not even examined the additional income tax from jobs, extra hours, etc, not to mention the taxes associated with retailers and diners purchasing additional inventories to meet the increased demand during the pheasant season, nor have we touched on the hotel/ lodging taxes that also head to the general fund and benefit everyone – all from a voluntarily funded program.

Additional benefits realized through this voluntary investment revolve around two educational programs connected with the bulk of the pheasant program, the day-old chicks. One program involves our youth volunteering to rear pheasants through the Cornell Cooperative Extensions in each county, better known as the 4-H. Youths aged 8-16 volunteer to raise these birds, which are bought by the County Federated sportsmen (again, voluntary money), and this support includes feed and equipment. This program teaches youth important lessons in responsibility, instills of love of wildlife, and successfully sends these future guardians of our natural resources on the path to becoming stewards of our ecosystems.

The day-old chick program also delivers prisoner rehabilitation opportunities through Safari Club International, where medium-security inmates rear these birds while learning the value of life; a benefit realized by all NYers upon their return to society.

So, as stated, the Governor and Enck seek to save $750,000. In reality, they are costing NY taxpayers millions of dollars in revenue, while eliminating two highly successful social programs that would cost the state millions to operate. Does that really sound like progress to you?

One never reduces a deficit by reducing income, yet that is exactly what Paterson and Enck will accomplish. The time is now to stand up and demand the state not cut programs that deliver nothing but positives, keeping everyone’s taxes lower, simply by eliminating voluntary expenditures that only a fraction of the people chooses to contribute to. After all, sportsmen’s programs do just that. Our efforts that we fund on our own benefit everyone, through healthier wildlife, more abundant animals, and large sums of tax dollars being funneled into the General Fund.

Mr. Governor, keep the farm open, and the pheasant program running. The state can ill-afford to lose the millions that this program generates.

Moreover, it does not cost the taxpayers a penny to realize these benefits.

Rich Davenport is a Freelance Outdoors Writer, Active member of NYSOWA, the Recording Secretary for Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Secretary of the WNY Environmental Federation, and is the Region 9 Rep for NYSCC Big Game Committee.


Sunday Public Service advertisement...

Hey amigo's and amiga's. There just might be one or two of Y'all out thar that may need this product, if not now, then in the near future ( like "The Chief"). , or "Sig" or Patrick, or...

Gotta thank my buddy "FishinMagician" from up Buffalo way fer makin us all aware of the great product...and fer the next video as well...

A "Chicago Christmas Present"....